Monday, April 22, 2024

Govt moves to reshape Māori health system

Legislation to disestablish the Māori Health Authority will be introduced in Parliament today, heralding the start of a new vision for Māori health, says Minister of Health, Dr Shane Reti. 

Minister Reti (pictured) said the move will serve both Māori and non-Māori well.

“We have said we will bring healthcare for all New Zealanders closer to the home and closer to the community,” he said.

“The Pae Ora (Disestablishment of the Māori Health Authority) Amendment Bill takes a narrow focus on the changes needed to disestablish the Māori Health Authority. 

“By the end of March, all remaining roles and functions will transfer to Health New Zealand – Te Whatu Ora and the Ministry of Health – Manatū Hauora under the Health Sector (Transfers) Act 1993.”

The Authority will be officially disestablished by 30 June 2024.  

“The narrow focus on disestablishment doesn’t mean an end to our focus on Māori health for those who need it. We know the solutions for Māori communities come from Māori communities – not a centralised Wellington hub,” said Dr Reti.

“We are committed to finding more efficient ways to work together to deliver those solutions, as well as savings which can go back into better health outcomes.

“Merging the functions of the Māori Health Authority and transferring its roles into the public health system means the health system keeps the expertise it needs to improve health outcomes for all New Zealanders including Māori.  

“I acknowledge the many people who have been part of the Māori Health Authority. Your expertise is valuable, and I look forward to your ongoing input into New Zealand’s health system.”

Iwi Māori Partnership Boards (IMPBs) and the Hauora Māori Advisory Committee will remain in place. Both were established under the Pae Ora Act 2022. 

“The Government will continue working with both groups to chart a new direction for Māori health. Their voices may evolve but both can have a role,” the Minister said.

“No matter how the health system is shaped, what’s important is how it functions. 

“We need function over form, we need results over reports.

“The Government intends to shift decision-making closer to communities to allow the people who know their communities best to guide service design and commissioning.”

Official documents relating to the Amendment Bill will be available on the Ministry of Health website after 4pm today.

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